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More Than a Friend

CHAPTER ONE

A wave of desolation consumes Brianna. The vines on the vendetta wall she built against the world is vigorously sprouting. She nonchalantly takes a sip of her drink as Matthew grips at her hip. As convivial as he is, he’s engaged in conversation with his soccer teammates over pungent beers. 

The smile Brianna forged as she greeted unpretentious classmates at the beginning of the evening has gone stiff. She closes her eyes. She imagines herself spending her night alone, unwinding in a soothing bath overflowing with bubbles, with a romantic novel that keeps her on her feet, melting into complete and utter nothingness. Her eyes flutter open when the skunk-like scent of marijuana tickles her nose. Next to her is a cluttered smoke circle. The atmosphere of the party is nauseatingly sticky and the obnoxious rap music blaring over the speakers causes Brianna’s head to throb. She leans into Matthew’s ear.

“Babe, I’m going to get another drink,” she says. Insouciantly, Matthew mumbles an “okay.”

Brianna pushes through the crowd, stumbling into the kitchen. The friction unfurling from unsanitary body contact causes her to recoil. Matthew’s parents, who are constantly away on business trips leave their home under his care. Like any other 18-year-old would, he occasionally throws parties. Students gathered to celebrate the soccer team’s second annual win. Brianna is proud of Matthew, really, considering he was the one who scored the winning goal. She couldn’t dare reject his invite to tonight after what he’s achieved, yet she despises distasteful house parties thrown by hormonal underaged teens. Brianna pours herself another cup of vodka lemonade, the drink dribbling a bit. She craved the euphoric taste of alcohol everyone banters over, but her stomach only churns with uneasiness.

As Brianna turns, she collides with a body, her drink spilling on their clothing. Glancing down at her drenched shirt, with her arms outstretched and her mouth agape, stands Alexandra Martinez. Brianna’s cheeks burn with embarrassment. She scatters for paper towels but there is none in sight. 

“I am so sorry, Al-“

It happens unanticipatedly. Brianna retches. She puffs her cheeks as she covers her mouth, but before she could flee to the bathroom, the three cups of vodka lemonade she chugged splatters at Alexandra’s feet. The few people in the kitchen draw back with disgust. Brianna groans.

Alexandra inhales with exasperation. Miya Brooks approaches the two girls. From what Alexandra recalls, Miya was once inseparable from Brianna, but ever since Brianna got involved with Matthew their friendship came to a wilt.

“I’ll clean up, take her to the bathroom,” Miya orders.

Brianna, too intoxicated to oppose stumbles like a newborn fawn as Alexandra guides her to the bathroom.

“How are you feeling?” Alexandra asks Brianna as she hands her an opened water bottle she snatched from the kitchen. Brianna sits on the lid of the toilet seat. She takes a sip of the water.

“Like someone is hammering a nail into my head.”

Alexandra turns the sink on. She searches for a washcloth and soaks it with soap and warm water. 

“Vodka does that to you.”

“Why are you helping me? Not only did I spill my drink on you, but I threw up all over your Dr. Martins, which I’m so sorry for by the way.”

Hesitant, Alexandra nonchalantly shrugs. “Girls have to stick with girls, you know?” She brings the washcloth to the corner of Brianna’s lips, wiping away the excess of the vomit, along with her fading lipstick that was once a vivid red. Electricity shocks throughout Brianna as her gaze meets Alexandra’s deep brown eyes.

Brianna’s known Alexandra as a classmate all throughout high school, nothing more and nothing less. The most they interacted was when Brianna needed to borrow a pencil or Alexandra passed out graded homework assignments. Was it really only at this moment Brianna found herself thinking how admirable Alexandra truly is with her punk style and equable persona.

“They’re really cute by the way,” Brianna jesters. “Your boots. They didn’t deserve to be puked on.”

Alexandra lets out a small chuckle. “Are you going to buy me a new pair?”

A grin forms on Brianna’s face. “Sure, what size are you?”

The two laugh. Brianna throws her head into her hands and groans. “I can’t believe the mess I’m in―the mess I’m making…” Her tongue still trips over her words, but they were sincere. “I shouldn’t have came. I don’t even like parties…”

Alexandra stays silent. She knows moments like these were best to not say a thing, because sometimes people don’t want any advice―they just want someone to listen so they could relax their shoulders once the weight is lifted from them. But she would be lying if she said she didn’t find this absurd situation just a bit of amusing.

“Don’t beat yourself up,” Alexandra says. “We all do stupid shit in our lives at some point. If you don’t, are you even human?”

The room falls silent. It’s tender. A knock at the door startles them. “Bri?” Matthew’s voice echos through the other side of the bathroom. “Are you in there?”

Brianna opens the doors and falls into her boyfriend’s muscular arms. He smells of alcohol and pinecone. “Take me home,” she mumbles into his chest.

Without another word, Alexandra watched as Brianna is swallowed by the crowd.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Fiction, LGBTQ+, Romance

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